The Lake District Guide

Your guide to Grizedale & Whinlatter Forest Park Activities

Please check with the Forests' information line before going to visit, as places may be limited on some activities and booking is often essential.

Grizedale Forest Park

Grizedale Forest Park offers an exciting day out for the entire family. The park is centrally located in the Lake District National Park and sits in an area of truly spectacular scenery. Check here for opening hours.

Active Woods is the Forestry Commission's campaign about the massive range of health and fitness facilities provided in Britain’s woodlands. From hard mountain bike trails to relaxing woodland wanders, with plenty of fun family events and for the adults things like "forest yoga" classes, there’s certainly something to suit every age and ability.

But forests aren’t only good for the body – they’re good for the soul too! Research has shown that natural green spaces boost people’s well-being and morale. So get out there and enjoy yourselves!

Go Ape is the wonderful children's adventure park, and although it's most well-known of all the attractions, it's by no means the only activity for children and families - indeed, there's a whole range of fantastic activates all year round. Not to be missed!

Use the search to find places to go, things to do and events.

How to get there:

Hawkshead is the nearest town or village. OS Grid Reference: SD331944

By Road: From the North (this route is not suitable for coaches):
Take the A591 to Ambleside, leave Ambleside on the A593 signposted to Langdale/Coniston. Take first left on the B5286 to Hawkshead, take the road round Hawkshead and follow the B5286 south; first right at tourist sign "Theatre in the Forest", follow the road to Grizedale Forest for about 2 miles.

From the South and the route for all coaches: Leave the M6 at junction 36 and follow the A59; take the first exit from the A590 signed for Barrow. Follow A590 past Newby Bridge and shortly afterwards, Haverthwaite crossroads, where you right turn, following tourist signs for "Grizedale Forest Park", then following signs for Satterthwaite/Grizedale north.

By Rail: Grange to the south and then by bus or taxi. Windermere to the east then by bus or taxi.

Whinlatter Forest Park

How to get there:

By road from Keswick
Take the A66 west towards Cockermouth. At Braithwaite turn west onto the B5292 for Lorton. Follow Visitor Centre Sign Posts.

Whinlatter Forest Park is England’s mountain forest. Rising to 792 metres above sea level it provides stunning views of the Lake District and beyond into Scotland. There are many exciting things to do here: we have listed just a few of them:

The Whinlatter Altura Mountain Bike Trail is a thrilling development within Whinlatter Forest Park. The 18 kilometre bike trail is the longest purpose built trail in the Lakes with 15 kilometres of brand new single track trail. The trail was built by Hugh Clixby who has experience of building trails at Dalby in North Yorkshire and Cannock Forest in the West Midlands. The trail is being sponsored by Altura, clothing manufacturer for cyclists. Bike hire is provided by Cyclewise from Penrith, who are also able to provide mountain bike training.

A new Go Ape course is being planned for Whinlatter Forest Park. This thrilling adventure course will include bridges made from rope, "tarzan" rope swings and zip slides as high as forty feet up in the trees! You'll be fitted with a climbing harness, told how to do it, and then ascend into the canopy where you can move from tree to tree looking down on the forest floor far below! This should all be ready by summer 2008 - see the Visitor Centre for details.

The Lake District Osprey Project is a partnership between The Forestry Commission and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and of course is supported by the Lake District National Park Authority.

The Bassenthwaite Ospreys are wild ospreys which nest in the forest overlooking Bassenthwaite Lake every year. Facilities include an open air viewpoint and indoor hide and an exhibition including live video pictures from video cameras overlooking the osprey nest. You can enjoy the birds from April to September annually. To find out more, have a look at the
Lake District Osprey Project website or see the amazing images from the live camera trained on the Ospreys' nest.

Other Forestry Commission places!

Noble Knott
The tranquil car park at Noble Knott, with its stunning views across the Derwent towards Skiddaw and Dodd Wood, is a great place to commence two waymarked trails. From Noble Knott you can walk along a circular route to the topmost point of Grisedale Pike (792 m) or you can just enjoy a picnic before visiting the Whinlatter forest Visitor Centre.

Revelin Moss
Located at the base of Grisedale Pike, Revelin Moss saw the initial planting of coniferous trees by the new Forestry Commission in 1919; it's now the base for Europe's first permanent "trail orienteering" way. The trail and a network of associated paths offers some gentle walking - perfect for the very young, people with pushchairs and wheelchairs, and those who don't wish to tackle strenuous walks. Enjoy a walk along well-maintained gravel paths with spectacular views of Grisedale Pike.

Dodd Wood

Dodd Wood car park is located at the bottom of Skill Beck. You can begin three walks of different lengths and difficulty here, including a challenging summit walk. Looming high above Bassenthwaite Lake, the Dodd offers unrivalled views of Derwent Water and Dumfries and Galloway. If you can get to the summit, your reward is magnificent views! If not, there is a variety of attractive waymarked walks from a central car park - all facilities included, such as picnic areas, a cafe and gents' and ladies' toilets. For those of a less fit disposition, the tearoom provides a wide range of home cooking. Another idea is to eat your own food in a picnic under the towering Douglas firs. You can also visit Mirehouse, a house set in fantastic grounds and once residence of James Spedding, a famous literary figure a couple of hundred years ago, HIs family still own it, and the whole property is unspoilt and reminiscent of the English country manor house. You can visit from April to October. Get your tickets at the tearoom.